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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, August 16, 2018

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India launches its most advanced ICBM missile: Agni-V

The successful test firing of the nuclear-capable Agni-V

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ODISHA, India - On Thursday, India tested what is its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Indian Defense Ministry confirmed on Twitter that the country had successfully test-fired its Agni-V long-range ICBM on Thursday morning (India time) on Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha.

The successful test firing of the nuclear-capable Agni-V, was declared as a “major boost” to the country's defense capabilities, by the country’s defense ministry.

According to the Federation of American Scientists, India is believed to have about 120 to 130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.

Since 2012, the missile has been tested five times and prior to Thursday, the most recent test took place in December 2016.

The launch in 2016 was harshly criticized by India's two most important geostrategic adversaries - Pakistan and China.

Throughout the last year, relations between India and China have deteriorated significantly following a border dispute in the small Himalayan region of Doklam.

Thursday’s launch came as one of India's flagship geopolitical conferences, the Raisina Dialogue 2018 is underway. 

Incidentally, the ICBM was test fired during a panel discussion on ‘Nuclear Unpredictability: Managing the Global Nuclear Framework.’

Commenting on the timing of the launch, Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT said it was very interesting.

Adding on Twitter, “This is a long-known maturing capability.”

According to authorities, India’s test-firing of its Agni-V ICBM in its final operational configuration is a step toward its eventual induction into the country’s Strategic Forces Command.

Officials added that the nuclear-capable Agni-V missile can reach the northern-most parts of China with its strike range of over 5,000 kms.

So far, authorities have not confirmed whether the first "user-trial" of the nuclear-capable Agni-V missile had met all the parameters laid down for the test.

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